Turkish FM lashes out at USA delivery of arms to Kurdish fighters

Turkish FM lashes out at USA delivery of arms to Kurdish fighters

The US first announced that it meant to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria shortly before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's May 16 visit to Washington. Operating in the southeastern part of Syria, out of a small outpost at the Tanf border crossing with USA and United Kingdom special operators are the Maghawir al-Thawra and Shohada al-Quartayn, groups that formerly fought against the Assad regime.

The US' weapons transfers began ahead of an upcoming offensive to recapture Raqa, the last major IS bastion in Syria.

Turkish officials have previously warned the USA that its decision to arm Kurdish forces fighting ISIL in Syria could end up hurting Washington. The government of Turkey objects to supporting them, however, having designated the YPG a terrorist group for its ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its alleged aim of establishing a sovereign Kurdistan.

However, the US believes the Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will be essential to Raqqa's downfall.

USA arms and equipment to SDF and YPG fighters began to trickle in last night. It was stressed how risky and unsafe the support given to the YPG was.

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U.S. officials have also indicated they will boost intelligence cooperation with Turkey to support its fight against the PKK. While America supports the YPG, it has officially designated the Marxist PKK a terrorist organization.

The IS, YPG and PYD are the most active terrorist groups in Syria. "We are keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partner Turkey".

Washington has sought to placate Ankara by saying the weapons will be handed out judiciously, and that it will monitor these to make sure they don't go into Turkey.

The new administration's decision to continue Mr Obama's policy comes as the SDF prepares for the final assault on Isis' stronghold of Raqqa in the north of the country.

The SDF have now advanced to within a few miles of Raqa on several fronts, and this month captured the strategic town of Tabqa and an adjacent dam from the jihadists. At the time, a SDF commander said forces would begin "entering and storming the city.at the start of the summer".

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